Sobriety, Mind Tricks & Hallmark Christmas Movies

A year ago, I was newly single, waiting for my divorce to be final. I threw myself into time with my son, and when he wasn’t around, I spent a lot of time watching Hallmark Christmas movies. Of course, I did this while comfortably numbing out with wine in hand.

If you have never watched a Hallmark Christmas movie, you are really missing out! The sweet, innocent, ethereal, feeling that every single one portrays is comforting to say the least. I remember laughing at myself for watching from beginning to end, even recording if I knew I would miss the final half, while always knowing exactly what would happen! There is something about the predictable and happy outcome that makes me feel safe. I think the movies started even earlier than usual this year. Probably because of the pandemic, as we obviously could use something comforting to help us through the end of 2020.

Don’t worry, it’s not wine!

This year it feels very different as I tune in. I am 122 days sober and I can’t enjoy my movies with the big glass of wine in my “Hallmark Christmas Movie wine glass”. I remember last year how odd and “sweet” it was that they never drink in these movies. It’s always, hot chocolate, apple cider, & eggnog – but not cocktails. There is the occasional glass of wine, but rarely do they actually drink it, and heaven forbid, they have more than one! BUT, this year, suddenly the Hallmark Christmas movie world has turned boozy! It must be the pandemic, right? I mean, why else would they be having more alcohol in the movies? They’re popping a cork for celebrations or pouring wine for dinner or even a fancy cocktail at the Christmas party! What is going on!? More importantly, how did they become big drinkers in movies that I watched last year?? WAIT…WHAT?

Our minds are amazing things. It can trick us into thinking something is true that isn’t. The mind can convince us of almost anything if we let it. Last year, I had booze in hand anytime it was past 4pm. I watched the “boy meets girl in a small town” love story with my head clouded by the wine witch and shocked that none of these people were pouring booze in their eggnog or having hot buttered rum instead of hot apple cider. I mean, in the real world, who would sit with the “long lost love of their life” with hot chocolate in hand rather than a glass of red wine! No one, that’s who!

But, the funny thing is, they did have drinks. And this year, I am painfully aware of it. That’s what I mean about mind tricks.

You know when you buy a new car, and all of a sudden you see them everywhere? It seems like everyone is driving the same car as you! You know it’s not true, but it sure does seem like it! Same thing is happening to me with my Hallmark Christmas movies. This year, fresh in sobriety, it seems like booze is in every single scene! Champagne to celebrate, wine with dinner, night caps with friends! Heck, they probably even spiked their eggnog! At least that’s what my mind is telling me.

The human mind is an amazing machine that can convince us of anything if we let it. I know there isn’t more booze in the movies this year, but I sure am noticing it this time around. “We always want what we can’t have” – meaning, my mind has a tendency to focus on the things that it knows I am trying to avoid. Right now, my main focus is on staying sober, thus seeing all the booze in my comforting movies. I know seeing booze and cake and all the stuff I want to avoid is just my brain trying to push me in the wrong direction.

Like many, I feel very anxious these days; Covid-19, home-school, unemployed ex-husband, holidays (without normal celebration) and the Elections. I am trying to learn how to handle my anxiety without booze and without gaining 10lbs. Ultimately, I am in control. I know I will not drink. I might be eating to much cake, but at least I am completely aware of it. None of it is easy, but throwing myself into the small town world of a Hallmark Christmas movie, where the biggest stress is deciding between hot chocolate and ice skating or apple cider and wreath making, sure keeps me from focusing on the stress, even if I am noticing the booze more than usual. Noticing it is 100 times better than drinking it.

~Always, Ms. K

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